Presenting a food in multiple smaller units increases expected satiety

Rose E. Oldham-Cooper, Laura L. Wilkinson, Charlotte A. Hardman, Peter J. Rogers, Jeffrey M. Brunstrom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
239 Downloads (Pure)


Abstract Presentation of the same amount a food in multiple smaller units (‘segmentation’) has been shown to reduce food intake and increase estimates of the amount of food consumed. However, this effect has been demonstrated for ad libitum food intake only. In the majority of cases, meals are not consumed ad libitum, but are pre-selected and consumed in their entirety, Expected satiety (ES; the anticipated capacity of a portion of food to relieve hunger between meals) is an excellent predictor of portion size selection. This study tested the hypothesis that segmentation increases ES. It was also hypothesised that perceived volume (PV) may account for the relationship between segmentation and ES. Sixty-eight participants made computer-based ES and PV judgments for equicaloric portions of three test foods (salted peanuts, spaghetti Bolognese, and chicken tikka masala), which were presented in either a single unit or as multiple smaller units (three or six units). Results revealed a consistent effect of segmentation on ES - foods presented in multiple smaller units were expected to deliver significantly greater satiety than when presented in a single unit (p < .005). Furthermore, results indicated that the effect of segmentation on ES was attributable to an increase in PV. ES plays an important role in determining the portion sizes that people select. Therefore, awareness of the effect of segmentation on ES may help to inform the design of foods that confer benefits for healthy weight maintenance.
Original languageEnglish
Early online date2 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017

Structured keywords

  • Brain and Behaviour
  • Nutrition and Behaviour


  • Expected satiety
  • Segmentation
  • Perceived volume
  • Portion size
  • Energy intake

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